Marco, Marty and the Twins

by Nick Brady

Chapter 11

Copyright © 2016 – 2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.

Bobby called the number he had been given and told the twins that his baseball team would be meeting Saturday morning at McClure Park to begin practice for the summer. Ben and Sam began to campaign to go out for the baseball team.

"Can we please?" Ben begged Marco and Marty.

"Are you sure you want to play baseball this summer?" Marco asked.

"Yes we're sure," Sam told him. "Our friends from Cub Scouts are going to play and we want to play on their team."

"Who else will be on the team?" Marco asked.

"Bobby played last year and Tyrone wants to play too," Ben chimed in.

"You guys played soccer last year," Marty recalled, "Don't you want to play soccer anymore?"

"Soccer is OK, but we want to play baseball this summer," Ben said.

"Brian is older. He won't be on your team," Marco reminded them.

"We know that, but we want to learn baseball," Sam insisted.

Marco looked at Marty, "Didn't you tell me that you played Little League?"

"I did," Marty replied. "I played from fourth grade until I was a Junior in high school. I had a lot of fun with it."

"I bet you could teach us how to play Papa. You play catch with us sometimes," Ben reminded him.

Marty grinned, "I think I still remember the basics of the game."

"I am the scout, you want to help these guys with baseball this summer?" Marco asked.

"I don't know. That might be fun," Marty admitted.

"Come on Papa, will you help us?" Sam was getting excited.

"Maybe, if you will really work at it," Marty began to weaken.

"It starts Saturday morning and we already have baseball gloves," Ben reminded him. In the minds of the twins, this was already a done deal.

"OK, I will take you to the practice Saturday and we will see what happens," Marty agreed.

Marco reminded Marty, "Remember Father Hoover's four elements of successful child raising, S, S, S and C."

"Right," Marty nodded, "School, Scouts, Sports and Church."

So on Saturday morning Marco and Marty took Sam and Ben to McClure park to report for baseball. Bobby and Tyron were there and about fifteen other boys with an assortment of parents that included Leroy from Scouts.

Marco introduced Leroy to Marty. "I see your boys have been working on you." Leroy smiled.

"Yes," Marco agreed, "I think they have all been plotting together on this."

"I mostly played basketball in high school," Leroy told them, "but I played a little baseball too."

Marco admitted, "I never played baseball. Soccer was my game, but Marty was a baseball player."

"Not that I was all that great at it," Marty assured him, "But I did enjoy it. These boys sure seem to be enthusiastic about it."

"Sports are good for kids," Leroy said. "It teaches them teamwork."

To their surprise Brian walked up with a smile. "I see the Bears are here," he said. The boys were pleased to see him and gathered around.

Marco introduced Brian to Marty. "Brian is the boys' Den Chief. I think I was telling you about him."

"Yes, Marco says you are quite an organizer," Marty told him. "I see you have organized some baseball."

"Hey, baseball is my game," Brian admitted. "I think they will enjoy it."

"What are you doing here?" Marco asked. "Are you helping coach the team?"

"No, not really," Brian said. "I was just curious to see if they would show up.".

"Are you going to help us?" Tyron asked.

"Well, I just came with Bobby, but it's nice to see you guys."

"He came with me a lot last year," Bobby told them "Brian helped me a lot. He's a real good ball player."

"I might show up from time to time," Brian smiled. "You guys are all pretty cool. I enjoyed you in cubs. I might be able to work with you a little."

That cinched the deal as far as the bears were concerned. The young man who was to be their coach called them all together.

"My name is Stan Morgan," he told them, "I will be your coach this summer. I played baseball for OSU and will try to teach you the fundamentals. How many of you have played baseball on a team before?"

About half the boys raised their hands. Ben and Sam looked around, relieved to see that they were not the only first timers.

"If you have a glove. I want you to go out on the field and spread out. Let's see what we have to work with here," he instructed, picked up a baseball bat and opened a bag of well used baseballs.

Only two of the boys were without gloves and Stan tossed them a couple of spares. "I am going to hit some balls to you and I want you to catch them as best you can, then throw them back to Brian here, OK?"

He began a drill of gently hitting balls to each of the boys in turn, aiming the balls accurately to first one and then another. Some were caught and many were missed, but they chased them down and returned them to Brian who fed them back to Stan.

Stan kept the balls going quickly and the boys found they needed to hustle to get to them.

He stopped after a few minutes then told them. "Here come some grounders, get in front of them. If you can't pick them up, at least stop them." He began to pepper them with ground balls.

Brian shouted encouragement and tried to show them how to kneel down to stop the ball even if they missed picking it up.

Marty, Marco and Leroy watched with amusement as the boys earnestly scampered around trying to return the balls to Brian.

It became obvious who had some skills and who did not. The boys who had played before did fairly well and Bobby proved to be very quick, catching most of what was directed towards him. Some of the others did fairly well and others seemed not to have much coordination. Sam, Ben and Tyron were better than might have been expected.

Stan soon called a halt to the exercise. "OK guys, very good," he said. "I'm just trying to see what we have to work with here. It looks like we need to work on some basic skills. I think you will be just fine if you are willing to work at it. I hope you have someone who can work with you at home. The secret is practice, practice, practice. It's as simple as that."

He called them back together. "I know that most of you would rather hit balls than catch them, but both are important. Now line up at the plate and I will pitch to you. Brian, would you catch for me please?Then he turned to Marco, Marty, Leroy and another father and asked, "Would you gentlemen field for us please?"

Brian squatted behind the plate and Stan began to pitch easy balls over the plate. Again the difference between those who had played before and those who had not was obvious. Stan pitched to each boy until they each either hit the ball or struck out. He went through the group until every boy had two turns at bat. Some of the new boys missed every pitch. Sam, Ben and Tyron looked awkward but hit a few. Stan looked pleased. Marco did fairly well at catching the wildly hit balls, Marty and Leroy did better.

"OK, good work," Stan told them. "Lets huddle up again please."

"One more little exercise," he told them. "Line up behind home plate and when I tap you on the shoulder I want you to run the bases, and put some hustle in it, OK?"

He tapped each boy in turn and shouted, "Go!" "Each scampered around the baseline as fast as they could. The difference in speed was obvious.

"Run, run! He encouraged each boy. When they had all finished running the bases he brought them together for one last thing.

"OK guys, I saw a lot of hustle out there. Here is what we will do. I have a signup sheet for each of you. Take this home and fill it out and get a parent to sign it. We will meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at three o'clock, and Saturday morning at ten. When you come on Tuesday, bring me your sheet all filled out and a check or cash for thirty dollars. In a week or so I will have T-shirts for each of you and a schedule for our games this summer. Our sponsor is the Best Hardware store. I also want each of you to add your name, address, phone number and birth date to this roster so I can get you registered and will know how to contact you. Any questions?"

"What if we can't be here on Tuesday?" a boy asked.

"If you really can't make it for some reason but want to be on the team, you should call me. My phone number is on the signup sheet. Otherwise if you aren't here on Tuesday I will assume that you aren't interested." He looked around at the group. "If you decide that you really don't want to do this, it's OK. I hope it will be fun, but I plan to work you pretty hard. So think it over and I hope to see all of you on Tuesday."

The group broke up and started walking towards the parking lot. Most of the boys looked enthusiastic but there were a few discouraged faces. Sam, Ben and Tyron were pumped.

"This is going to be so cool!" Ben said and the others agreed.

"What do you think we stop for something cold?" Marty suggested that they met at a Braum's up the street from the park. Leroy brought Tyron. Bobby's mother drove him and Brain and she joined them inside. She introduced herself as Joyce.

They all went through the line and got a cold drink then crowded around a couple of tables. The boys were chattering away and Marco, Marty, Leroy and Joyce sat by themselves and talked things over.

"I think we have ourselves a good coach," Leroy observed.

"He is going to work them, that's for sure," Marty agreed. "I think he knows what he is doing."

"I thought he was a little rough on them," Joyce looked a bit concerned.

Marco laughed, "I think he was trying to see who was serious. There were a few there today who might not show up on Tuesday."

Leroy nodded, "I imagine that was the idea."

"Well, Bobby will want to be there," Joyce said. "He lives and breaths baseball, and idolizes Brian."

Are they related?" Marco asked. "One of my boys said he thought they were cousins."

Joyce smiled, "They are. They are first cousins. Brian is my nephew, my sister's boy."

"He is a nice kid," Marco said. "I was very impressed with him on the scout campout."

Joyce smiled, "Yes he is. He has had a hard time too." Then she paused as if she felt she had to explain. "My sister is divorced from his father. It was not good situation."

They left it at that. "I have a little problem though," Joyce continued. "I am a single parent too, and I work through the week. I'm not sure how I can get him there at three o'clock on weekdays."

Marty shrugged. "I have the same problem actually." He looked at Marco. "I can be here on Saturday. Do you think you can bring the twins through the week?"

Marco sighed, "Sure, I suppose I can. I didn't think about that." Then Marco turned to Joyce. "Where do you live?"

"We are not far from the park really. Would it be an imposition for you to give Bobby a ride?"

Marco smiled, "No, of course not. Give me your address and we can stop by in time to get him to practice."

"Oh thank you," she said. "He will be ready and waiting. He loves his baseball."

"No problem," Marco assured her.

"How about Tyron?" Marco asked Leroy.

Leroy shrugged. "I may not always be able to bring him, but my wife can. She works out of the house."

"OK great," Marco nodded. Then he asked, "What about Brian? He spoke as if he might want to attend some of the practices."

"I don't know what his plans are," Joyce said, "but if he wants to tag along he will get himself over to our house. He rides his bicycle over to see Bobby sometimes. He doesn't live that far from us. Can you fit them into your car?"

"There is room for three boys in the back seat," Marco agreed. "It's doable."

The boys had finished their drinks and were beginning to get noisy. "We better move along before we get tossed out," Marty laughed.

"Well it was very nice to meet you," Joyce said sincerely. "I hope this isn't too much trouble for you."

Marco shook his head. "It's not. Glad to help."

They all parted and left for home.

"Sorry partner," Marty apologized. "I guess the boys have fallen to you again."

"Oh, I don't mind," Marco said. "The only thing that I regret is that you don't have more time to spend with them. They need to spend more time with their Papa."

"I know," Marty agreed. "I feel bad that you end up being the one who has to take care of all these things. But I can work with them on their baseball skills I think. That's why we have a back yard."

"They will enjoy that and I really don't mind. I love doing things with Sam and Ben. I just feel like you need to spend more time with them. They love you too."

"And I love them too," Marty assured him. "You end up being the primary parent, which is alright I guess. You are good at it."

"Who would have thought it?" Marco laughed.

Sam and Ben were listening from the back seat. "It's OK," Sam said. "We know that your jobs are different."

Marty turned and said to the twins, "That's true that I don't have as much time as your Daddy. It's my loss because I love spending time with you."

"You are going to teach us how to play baseball," Ben told him.

"That's right. At least I'm going to try," Marty assured them.

"We are going to be awesome!" Sam told him.

"That's right – awesome!" Ben agreed.

And so they were. Sam and Ben quickly developed into good little baseball players. Marty worked with them in the back yard when he came home from work and their skills improved. Marco gave Bobby a ride to the weekday practices and part of the time Brian joined them. Sam, Ben, Bobby and Tyron developed both as team mates and as friends. Marco took an interest in Brian, both because he felt some empathy for his situation and simply because he respected the boy. Marco often tagged along on Saturday just to enjoy the practice and to visit with Leroy who brought Tyron on the weekend. Of the initial group of boys, a smaller group of a dozen boys returned and took the game seriously. After the first two weeks they began to play some other teams, usually on Saturday afternoon. Saturday became baseball day for all of them and they were quite competitive.

Very soon it came time for the twins to celebrate their ninth birthday and they had some definite ideas for a party.

"We want to invite our baseball friends," Sam announced.

"Yeah, last year we invited our cousins but this year we want to invite our baseball team.

"I don't know, that's a lot of kids," Marco complained.

"Well, how about if we just invite Bobby, Tyron and Brian?" Ben wondered.

"That might be more manageable," Marty agreed. "But do you think Brian would want to come? He's older than the rest of you guys."

"Sure he would," Sam assured him. "Brian is our friend too. We know him from scouts and baseball and we really like him."

"Well, you can invite him. If he doesn't want to come he can say no thank you I guess," Marco decided.

The twins thought that was a great plan and then they discussed what they wanted to do for the party.

"You know, the Tulsa Drillers will be in town playing Springfield that week. What do you think about a baseball game?" Marty suggested.

"Yes!!" was the response. And so that was the plan. Brian accepted the invitation and plans were made for the five boys to attend. The invitation was extended to Leroy and Joyce as well. Joyce declined but Leroy was enthusiastic.

"Sure, I would love to go to the ball game. I insist on paying my own way though," Leroy offered.

"Oh, what's one more ticket. You can buy your own hot dog though if you like," Marty laughed.

"No problem," Leroy agreed. "We can meet you there if you like."

"Sure, that makes it easy," Marco agreed. "Then we can all go to Braum's for cake and ice cream."

It was a great plan.

To the official plan the twins added another request. "After the game we want to invite the guys over to spend the night."

"Aren't you guys a little young for that?"

"We are NINE!" Sam argued. "That's plenty old enough. And besides, you know all us guys. We'll be good!"

"Right! We will be no trouble at all! PLEASE??" There was no winning the argument.

Marco smiled, nodded at Marty and silently mouthed "It's OK."

They all accepted the invitation to the baseball game and the following sleepover. Except Brian, who agreed to the game but declined the sleepover.

"Would you have enjoyed a sleepover with five nine-year-olds when you were fourteen?" Marco asked.

"Probably not," Marty agreed. "But I think he appreciated the invitation."

The twins birthday fell on a Friday, but Saturday was the better day to go to a ballgame. Marco decided to buy a block of eight tickets for box seats on the third base line so they could all sit together. He went two weeks before the game and managed to get seats on the front row next to the field. On the day of the game they arrived early and picked up enormous soft drinks to tide them over until time for hot dogs. Marco insisted that they all go to the bathroom before taking their seats. He had earlier suggested that they wear their team T-shirts and they had done so.

Driller field is a beautiful baseball stadium. It is fairly new and located in the heart of downtown Tulsa with a spectacular view of the tall buildings that fill the city center. To say that the boys were excited would be an understatement.

"Wow, this is so cool!" was echoed by all the boys.

Even Brian was excited. "I've been to some games before but I never got to sit in a box seat right next to the field," he admitted. "Thanks for inviting me."

Before long the game began and it was a close one.

In the second inning Springfield hit a high pop fly that looked like it was coming down just at the Third base wall where the boys were sitting. If Tulsa missed the catch the runner rounding third would score. If he caught it the inning would be over.

The boys freaked out, not knowing whether to try to catch the ball or duck. The third baseman rushed for the ball and jumped high in the air, catching the ball just before it fell in Tyron's outstretched hands. Tyron gasped and the third baseman laughed, held the ball high in the air and then lightly flipped it up to Tyron. All the boys cheered as Tyrone now held the ball triumphantly in the air while the fans in their area applauded. Tyron was in heaven and passed his new treasure to the other boys to examine and admire.

Marty had slipped a note to the announcers that Sam and Ben were a pair of nine year old twins celebrating their ninth birthday with a group of friends from their baseball team. During one of the breaks between innings the announcer introduced some people who were attending the game. There was a 90 year old grandmother who was attending her first professional baseball game, a couple of newlyweds, and twin nine-year-olds Samuel and Benjamin Montgomery who were here with members of their little league baseball team.

When he made that announcement the camera was turned on the group of boys sitting next to the field and they all looked with amazement as their images appeared on the giant screen over the outfield. The crowd applauded as the boys jumped up and down with delight. Hornsby, the silly blue mascot for the Drillers waddled over and gave them all high fives.

They feasted on hot dogs, soda, and popcorn and had a wonderful time. Tulsa even won the game to make it all perfect. After the game they retreated to a Braum's where Marty had arranged for a birthday cake and ice cream for them all. Their friends had brought presents which were retrieved from Leroy's van and it was a real party. They were so excited that they had to be reminded to open the presents. It was a great day.

After the visit to the ice cream store they went home where the happy group flopped down in front of the television set and played video games. Just in case they were still hungry, Marco sent out for pizza. By ten o'clock Marty had taken Brian home and Marco told the boys it was time for bed. Of course they were not expected to quietly fall asleep, but there were sleeping bags for them to crawl into whenever they finally gave up the ghost.

About eleven Sam and Ben decided that they wanted to shower, and Bobby and Tyron decided that they would join them. Soon there were four stinky boys jockeying for the shower.

"Who goes first?" Bobby asked.

"We usually shower together," Ben pointed to Sam.

"Go ahead then and Bobby and I will go next," Tyron suggested

Sam and Ben jumped into the warm water and went through their usual ritual, washing each other's backs and passing the bar of soap. When they rinsed off, Bobby and Tyron took their place, giggling loudly.

Of course they were all checking each other out. The twins were uncut and the little tube of flesh looked interesting to Bobby and Tyron who were circumcised. Bobby's little weenie was very short with a bright red knob at the end. Tyron's was noticeably longer and his black skin contrasted with red headed Bobby who was white as a china cup. Tyron hesitated then took the soap and rubbed it over Bobby's back, taking a cue from the twins. Bobby giggled and returned the favor. The soap suds appeared very white against Tyron's dark skin. They quickly soaped their own fronts and rinsed off.

As they toweled themselves dry Tyron looked at Bobby and laughed, "Yours looks like a mushroom."

Bobby rubbed himself with the towel, "It gets bigger sometimes," he giggled, "but yours is kind of long."

"Sometimes mine gets bigger too." Tyron admitted, then looked at the twins. "You guys have skin over yours."

"We are natural boys," Ben informed him. "We are just the way we were born. You would have skin over yours if it wasn't chopped off."

Now it was a fact that most boys in the USA are circumcised, and to Bobby and Tyron the twins looked unusual and rather interesting. Their natural curiosity caused them to wonder what was under that tube of skin. They looked each other over and found the differences in their bodies intriguing. Sam and Ben were brown as nuts, Bobby was lily white, and Tyron was, if not coal black, a very dark brown. They were all slender and fit although Tyron was the tallest and Bobby the shortest. They found the differences quite interesting.

They all wrapped themselves in towels and scurried into the bedroom to put on clean underwear. They were tired after a long day, but still keyed up after all the excitement. They sat on the floor in their undershorts and talked.

"Boy, I had fun today," Bobby told them. "That's the first real baseball game I ever went to."

"We went to a game last summer, but we sat way up in the stands. This was way better today," Ben agreed.

Tyron was still holding his baseball. It had only left his hands when he showered. "It was so cool that that guy gave me the ball."

"Well you would have caught it if he had not jumped for it," Sam reminded him.

"I guess," Tyron grinned. "But it was even cooler that he tossed it to me."

"I bet you keep that forever," Bobby suggested.

Tyron nodded, "Yeah, I bet I will."

"I think this was the best birthday ever," Ben reflected. "I'm sure glad you guys could come with us."

Sam agreed. "Me too. You guys are our best friends now. We do everything together, scouts and baseball."

"Yeah, that's really nice," Bobby said, You guys are the best friends I ever had."

"You are friends with Brian," Sam pointed out. "He's really a neat guy."

"I like Brian," Ben acknowledged, "Most guys his age won't be friends with younger boys."

"Brian is different," Bobby told them. "I have known him forever and he has always kind of looked after me. He is kind of like a big brother really."

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Sam asked Tyron.

"Just one older brother," Tyron admitted.

"Well, you twins have each other. Is it cool being a twin?" Bobby asked.

Ben smiled. "I think it is. We get along pretty good, and we do almost everything together." Sam nodded in agreement.

"Is Marco your father?" Bobby asked. "You guys look like him."

"We are adopted," Ben told him. Daddy and Papa adopted us when we were four."

"How come you don't have a mother?" Tyron wondered. "I mean, most guys have a mom and a dad."

"Well we have two dads," Sam explained. "They are married."

Tyron and Bobby stopped to think about that. "So what's the deal with your dads? I mean, are they...?"

"They are gay. They love each other and they got married, then they adopted us so they could have kids," Sam explained. "There's nothing wrong with that."

"Your dads are real nice," Tyron assured them. "It's just, well, unusual."

Ben shrugged. "Well it's normal for us. I think we are lucky."

Bobby grinned, "Yeah, I guess you are. You have two dads and I don't have any."

"Your mom is nice." Sam assured him.

"I didn't say she wasn't. But it would be nice to have a father sometimes," Bobby explained.

"But you have Brian. That's cool. It would be nice to have a big brother too," Tyron said.

Ben thought for a minute. "We can be brothers, I mean the four of us. You know, like blood brothers or something."

Tyron smiled. "I like that idea."

"Yeah, let's be blood brothers," Bobby suggested.

They all agreed that they would like that.

Tyron recalled, "I saw a movie one time on TV about that. These guys decided to be blood brothers so they both cut their wrists and put them together so their blood got mixed up. Then they said they were blood brothers."

Bobby made a face. "I don't know about that."

Sam shook his head. "That sounds gross. I think if we want to be blood brothers we can just agree without doing something like that."

Ben laughed. "That works for me. Let's just shake on it, OK?"

They all shook hands and agreed that they were blood brothers with no further ceremony required.

They were running out of energy and beginning to get sleepy. Tyron was still holding his precious baseball. He looked at it and then at the twins.

"Here," Tyron said and handed the ball to Sam.

"This is really cool," Sam said, and passed the ball to Ben. Ben admired it and handed it back to Tyron.

"No, Keep it," Tyron told him. "Let that be kind of a birthday present."

"No, man, You should keep this forever," Ben said with surprise.

Tyron smiled. "I know, why don't you guys keep it for me, OK?"

Sam and Ben looked at each other and grinned. "Thanks, Tyron. We will take good care of this for you."

They now found sleep inevitable. Sam and Ben crawled into their bunks and Tyron and Bobby slipped into sleeping bags and the room got very quiet.

Marco and Marty were in their bed. They had tried to go to sleep but were tuned in to the muted laughter and chatter from the boy's bedroom.

When it finally got quiet Marco remarked, "I think they finally gave out."

"They had a big day," Marty observed. "I think this was a very successful birthday. Expensive, but successful."

"Leroy picked up the tab for the hot dogs and soda," Marco reminded him.

"Did he? That was decent of him."

"Leroy is alright. We talked a lot at the campout. He was curious about our relationship but was cool with it."

"Was he? Sometimes I am almost surprised at how easily most people seem to accept us," Marty reflected.

" Maybe times really are changing," Marco suggested. "Sam and Ben understand us and they accept it. That's what's important."

"I like that they are making some real friends. School, scouts, sports and church – Father Hoover has a good plan," Marty mused.

Marco rolled over and put his arms around his old friend. "I love you Marty."

They kissed and recalled how much they loved each other, being careful not to disturb any sleeping boys.

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